war on drugs

Flickr Photo/Linda

Marcie Sillman talks with Bruce Bagley, professor of international studies at University of Miami, about the legalization of pot in Uruguay what this means for the US war on drugs abroad.

For drug smugglers, getting a truckload of illegal narcotics past border authorities means potentially huge profits.

San Diego Is Biggest Entry Point For Mexican Meth

Oct 9, 2013

More than 70 percent of methamphetamine illegally trafficked into the U.S. passes through U.S.-Mexico border crossings in the San Diego area. That’s despite laws in both countries designed to crack down on the drug.

Customs and Border Protection agents at the San Ysidro Port of Entry face a tough balancing act. Facilitating international trade and travel on the one hand. On the other, trying to stop drugs and other illegal cargo from getting into the U.S.

Drug cartels are doing big business up and down the West Coast. When you go by freeway, you’re driving a Silk Road of sorts for heroin, meth and cocaine.

This export industry is evolving. Drug experts say heroin is back on the rise, fueled in part by prescription drug abuse. And while the supply side of the business may change, the demand remains strong.

"I was in love with it from the very beginning"

Mexican drug cartels operate an illicit export business that depends on freeways that run from California and Arizona to Canada. 

The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee says he's done waiting for answers about how the Justice Department will handle marijuana offenses in states that have legalized small amounts of the drug.

Piper Kerman was a 24-year-old Smith College graduate in 1993, when she flew to Belgium with a suitcase of money intended for a West African drug lord.

This misguided adventure started when she began a romantic relationship with a woman who was part of what Kerman describes as a "clique of impossibly stylish and cool lesbians in their mid-30s." That woman was involved in a drug-smuggling ring, and got Kerman involved, too, though Kerman left that life after several months.

El Narco
Courtesy Bloomsbury Press

Since 2006, more than 40,000 soldiers, police officers, traffickers and citizens have died in Mexico’s bloody drug war — from the mountains where pot and poppies are grown to the streets of Mexico City. Journalist Ioan Grillo tracks the rise of the cartels and their increasing influence north of the border in his book, "El Narco." He joins Steve Scher with a report from the front lines of the Mexican drug war.